Tangled yarns from London's passers-through

008 : Anita Hawkins in the lane outside her house, French Concession
Born in 1985 in Kuching, Sarawak, of Borneo, Malaysia, Anita Hawkins currently works as sometime-performer, concept-pusher, and microworker. Why Shanghai? Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship. She digs the following Shanghai bits: the glorious influx of just the right persons; May with a hint of June; lightlit rides on Yan’an elevated road; Xuhui District’s grand old homes, blocks and buildings, with their many untold stories inside; the Shanghainese ‘la’. She is, however, a bit miffed by "I only tell if I get more Panthea-time." [As per hitotoki dictates, this contributor chose to list her favourite Shanghai meals in lieu of Shanghai dislikes. Her picks: xiaolongbao by the Taiwanese at Din Tai Fung; a hot very-chocolate on a very-bleak day at Charmant (it's a meal, yes); a lazy hairy crab and river reed fish at Xin Ji Shi; the Shanghainese sauna combination at Xiao Nan Guo.] For more info on Anita Hawkins you should send an email or visit the microblog.

image: G. Camerotti

“Your bones are cold.”

It’s often too easy to slip into ‘small’ in Shanghai. The city heaves, flails and flourishes around you constantly and steadily, irregardless of you and your current state of mind.

I was feeling the ‘small’ one day early autumn, but picking myself up around me, I decidedly tried to heave myself out of the apartment and into the day ahead.

Slipping down the stairs of my little low-rise[1], I ramshackled myself onto the back lane on Yongfu Lu upon which the apartment lies. Upon hitting the cold, I was met by a little dust and a well-padded elderly lady.

She seized my arm. “Why are you wearing that?”

“What?”, I shortened, fallen leaves crackling at me.

“Your skirt.”

“What’s wrong with my skirt?”

“Your bones are cold.”

My memory-of-moments flash back to adolescent negotiations with my dear Mother over hem-lengths. Suddenly, I’m liking this new argument.

I clamour back to my apartment, return to the lane re-clothed, and there’s smiles, not small.

referenced works

  1. Though towering condominiums are the residences-of-choice for many newly moneyed Shanghainese, the traditional residences in the city remain the low-rise apartment blocks. Typically, these drab, utilitarian, concrete buildings are no more than five stories tall, with each level housing two or three apartments. Many still exist today in the former French Concession of Shanghai.

location information

  • Name: the lane outside her house
  • Address: Lane 147 Yongfu Lu
  • Time of story: Morning
  • Latitude: 31.21137
  • Longitude: 121.443987
  • Map: Google Maps



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